Albert Pujols explains hug with Cubs general manager

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Yesterday his pregame hug with Cubs general manager Jim Hendry made headlines, so today Albert Pujols explained the embrace to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Pujols told Strauss that he’s been friends with Hendry for a while now through former Cardinals GM and current Reds GM Walt Jocketty.

As an impending free agent determined to test the open market after failing to agree to a contract extension with the Cardinals during spring training Pujols also said he knew the hug would probably become news.

I figured that would happen, that they would play with it. At the end, it’s not what you do on the field. It’s what kind of person you are off the field. That’s the kind of relationship you want to build with somebody you respect. He’s on the other side. I’m on our side. I just think it’s kind of ridiculous. Three writers came and talked to me about that and the contract. Are you serious? C’mon.

Strauss notes that Hendry also laughed off the whole situation when asked about it. Hendry apparently also hugged Ryan Theriot before the game, which didn’t rile up Cardinals fans quite as much for some reason.

Angels hire Brad Ausmus as special assistant to the GM

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Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that the Angels have hired former Tigers manager Brad Ausmus as a special assistant to GM Billy Eppler.

Ausmus, 48, managed the Tigers for four seasons, accruing a 314-332 (.486) record. The Tigers fired him after the 2017 season and hired former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire in his place.

Ausmus will assist with scouting and evaluations of players in the Angels’ system, amateurs, and players in other organizations.